Part III of Stan Tells You About His Trip from ON to AZ in 2003

The very careful follower, reader, will have noted that I missed Chapter 6 in the last posting. If you check, you will see that I posted Chapter 7, but not Chapter 6??   Below is Chapter 6. 

Stan Speaks: Lois never reads these narratives  so I can share with you something personal ~ as a young 15 year old, my very first girl friend in the WEST was from Saskatoon ~ Saskatchewan!! Perhaps that is why I like the “ring” of those two words ~ Saskatoon Saskatchewan!! Her name was Valerie!! I digress.

We begin our day in Winnipeg! Who has not heard about the coldest intersection in the world ~ the corner of Portage and Main????   Some may not know, but this intersection is “mile 0″ of THE YELLOWHEAD (TRANS CANADA) HIGHWAY. The Yellow head provides a panorama across the prairies through foothills to the towering Rockies and westward to the Pacific Ocean. Of the 5 passes through the Rockies, the Yellow head Pass is by far the most gentle and that is the primary reason we chose this route. Remember Chapter 4, where we talked about the spat between the Hudson Bay Co and The North West Company ~ the Yellow head was used then and it is used to-day. It got its name from an Iroquois-Metis trapper called Tete Jaune Cache. Most will immediately recognize that “Tete Jaune” (in the other official language) is “yellow head”. It seems that our famous trapper and voyageur had blonde-streaked hair. For the few who have not driven this route, it is marked by a “yellow head” on the sign posts. Typical Stan; more history than scenery!

What does one report on the prairies?? The harvest was in its final stages; the streets in Western towns are very wide ~ and indeed we pulled off and explored two or three; in Manitoba the men wear “caps”, in Saskatchewan half wear “caps”, the other half cowboy hats and of course in Alberta they all wear cowboy hats!! I’m teasing of course. I am sure that for those who grew up on the Prairie, a return brings back many fond and wonderful memories. Although I did not grow up in the prairies, we made our home in Alberta for 3 years and Manitoba for 2. And for the record I happen to believe that Saskatoon is one of the more attractive cities in Canada!!

Return to the highway: It is the best. Most of the Yellow head is 4 lane, lightly travelled and with speed limits unknown in Ontario ~ varies from as low as 90 up to 110.(km of course.) Did we make Saskatoon by nightfall? Yes we did. I had promised Lois dinner in the Besborough hotel ~ (Westerners will understand)~~however; we settled for a fine dinner in the Husky gas station!!
Rather than find an RV Site for the night, we settled in at the Husky–right along with the Semi-trailers!! Come on guys ~ support me, she did not have to make dinner–I said we ate at the Husky!!

Stan 2003 09 24.

Got away about 08:30; no sun to begin the day but things went quite well with one exception. Either there was no fuel at the west end of Edmonton or if there was, we missed it. Accordingly; we had some anxious moments until we finally found fuel. Good news~~the price was right, 58.9 cents per litre, same as we pay in Lindsay, ON. Sun also came out about the same time, mid morning and the rest of the day was the best day of the trip. No head winds for the vehicle; mostly flat 4 lane highway with enough variety in colour and terrain to make the day most enjoyable.
On arriving in the park, Jasper National Park, we took a run up to Maligne Canyon and I have some pix of the gorge. Back to Jasper Lodge, had a drive around and then into Jasper the town. Parked beside the passenger train and walked the main street. As we had had lunch, we went into a nice spot and had a beer and potato skins!! Quite good. Then we walked up to Information, located our Campground on the map and proceeded to it. Loaded up with fuel and came to our site. The site had absolutely nothing to complain about!! Probably the best site ever, (not just this trip) the price $30 per night. However; all services, excellent pull thru; laid out in the elongated circle format. The trees had an appropriate amount of colour for the season. We had just got settled when we heard the most unusual sound. It turned out to be the male elk sending a message to all other males in the area to stay away from his turf. The elk were rutting. In the photo you will note that he has 5 Points above the base of his antlers. As such, my fellow camper explained, this fellow is a “55er”. I was able to get real good pix of this fellow as he stayed with us from about 15:00 hrs to 20:00 hrs. The call of the male elk is similar to that of a high pitch scream of a child. In one of the pix he is emitting that call. German tourist were in evidence. I spoke with one couple from Berlin who had been in western Canada for 6 weeks~~ touring BC and Vancouver Island. They were not alone, that is we had already met others enjoying the “wild” of the Parks of Canada. This element of the German population obviously relish the opportunity to hike, to explore and to take in the magnificent scenery of the Rocky Mountains. We did not take the 75km drive down to the Athabasca Ice Field~~toward Banff. However; this is a “must do” if you are ever in the general area. I think we could begin to taste the end of our trip and as such, our desire to digress from the most direct route had begun to diminish. Tomorrow we leave Alberta and enter “Beautiful British Columbia”. Jasper Park is on the border of the two provinces.

Stan: 2003 09 26.


As we left Jasper National Park this morning, the temperature was 1 degree ~ however; the forecast high for the interior of BC, our destination, was 31C!! (For our American readers, that is hot, very hot). The Yellow head route continued to offer us “smooth sailing”, no undue grades, good scenery with a speed limit commensurate with the conditions~ 110km. Until Kamloops the Yellow head was a dream vis-à-vis steep grades. We did however experience just that by the time we got just north of Hope. The weather man delivered on the temp ~ it was a fantastic summer day ~ we had our lunch on an outside picnic table at Kamloops.

TOLL ROADS: I thought it was only ON and America that had toll roads; not so, the road from Meritt to Hope was a toll road ~ cost $10.00. Not only did we “pay” to drive on this portion of highway, but we also experienced steeper grades than anywhere else on the trip. This is “mountain road”!! Many up and many downhill portions where the truck worked UP, dropped into second; and down, also dropped into “2nd” ~~ precisely as it should in such conditions.

We made good time, so good, that instead of stopping in Hope; we continued on toward Horseshoe Bay ~ the harbour from where the BC Ferry departs for Vancouver Island. It was almost as though the ferry was waiting for us; we paid our fee of $172.00, boarded and began our crossing to the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. We had preselected an RV Park called Jinglepot. All city services including cable TV, plus beautiful grounds ~ flowers in full bloom!!! Both of us are tired. Had a “bacon and egg dinner”; Lois went immediately to bed ~ circa 20:00hrs. After cleaning up, I am doing this “task of enjoyment” ~ making the final entry in our diary, and then I too will hit the pit!! Folks: Thank you for joining us on our trip from Kawartha Lakes (Lindsay) ON to Nanaimo, BC, on Vancouver Island. (2,800 miles plus or minus.)We do hope that you have enjoyed reading all or a part of the articles. The plan now is to highlight some of our day trips around Vancouver Island. This will include Vancouver ~ Granville Market; the Capital City of Victoria and perhaps others. Do hope that you stay with us. Of course we are still looking forward to the southern leg of our journey ~ BC to AZ. We will call that Phase II. Stan. 2009 Note: Unfortunately when I wrote this article, in 2003, I had not learned the IMPORTANCE of always entering the date. Thus, I am not exactly sure when I wrote this?.

Stan McCormack writing in ADELAIDE PLACE, LINDSAY, ON. 2019 04 08.

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